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406 THE MODERN LANGUAGE JOURNAL
1. Warn the public that a movement is on to discredit and
eliminate modern languages from the high schools and interest
them in discouraging such a course.
2. State the practical and the disciplinary value of the modern
3. Show that since the close of the war modern languages
have become an absolute necessity for the average educated person
in order to intelligently follow the social, economic and political
movements of the modern nations.
4. Demonstrate by facts to superintendents and boards that
modern languages are fully the equals in importance of other
No clever words or sophistry will convince our opponents; we
must use plain language and sound arguments. As languages
mean so much to us who teach them, we are called upon to educate
the public and the superintendents to the necessity of our subject
in the high school. I earnestly hope that each teacher will pledge
himself to do his share to cooperate in a movement which will
prove that languages have both practical and disciplinary value.
In fine, whatever is to be done must be done now; spurred on
by the worthy cause we must combat this vicious tendency which
is dictated neither by high educational ideals nor by good judg-
John M. Pittaro
The Stuyvesant High School
New York City
PRACTICAL FRENCH PHONETICS by T. Macirone, New
York, AUyn and Bacon. 1921. 97 pp. +43 (Vocabulary).
The "book aims to help students of French to overcome the
difficulties which confront them when they try to acquire a correct
pronunciation of that language." A chapter each is devoted to
"What Phonetics Does," "Formation of the Mouth and Throat.
Speech Sounds," "Vowel Sounds," "Consonants," "Daily Exer-
cises," "Phonetic Transcription of French Stories."
"What Phonetics Does" is an exposition of the advantages of
the phonetic method in teaching pronunciation; the chapter
entitled "Formation of the Mouth and Throat. Speech Sounds"
is clear and free from unnecessary technical terms. The two fol-
lowing chapters treating of the vowels and consonants are not so
satisfactory. In a book intended for American students, the
author has not always kept in mind the difficulties they encounter.
For example "&", closed "eu," closed "o," closed "ou," are fre-
quently faulty because of too great a separation of the teeth; on
the contrary, the open vowels are often incorrect because the teeth
are held too close together. One could have hoped for some indi-
cation of the degree of the separation of the teeth in the produc-
tion of the vowels. After giving practical directions for the
lengthening of the consonants, the author neglects the fact that
the semi-consonants are likewise lengthened and contents himself
in the case of w with the statement that "This is practically the
same consonant as in English" (p. 24). Again the directions for
the production of "I"; "put your tongue a little farther back than
for "6," or "Pronounce i-6-e-a-a-o-6-u, and notice: (1) that the
tongue starts in the front of the mouth and is gradually drawn
back" (p. 34) can tend only to cause the American to accentuate
his common fault of holding the tongue too far away from the
front teeth while pronouncing all of the front vowels. Singing
each sound (p. 25) recommends itself as a practical device in over-
coming the tendency of diphthongize the vowels, but the direction,
"Say it (6) very slowly, so as to divide your diphthong into two
parts" (p. 24) or "Most people pronounce the vowel (e) with two
vowel sounds, that is with a diphthongal vowel, etc." would
seem to indicate a misconception of the nature of the English
diphthong as it does not consist of two vowel sounds only, but of
a multiplicity of vowel sounds, since the positions of jaw and
tongue are constantly shifting in its production.
In the discussion of nasal vowels, the injunction "Do not let
your tongue touch your palate at all. If you do, it will make
the sound a consonant, not a vowel" is hardly practical because
Americans knowing this still pronounce n, m, and ng, after nasal
vowels and not just ng as one would seem obliged to infer from
the discussion of nasal "a," p. 32.
Descriptions of sound as "more hollow" (p. 23), "round"
(p. 24), or "thick" (p. 47) are too vague to be of use in a phonetic
"There is very little to be said about "f"; it is a voiceless
consonant so pronounce it gently in French" (p. 44) or "This is the
voiceless sh sound, usually spelled ch in French. Pronounce it
less energetically than in English" (p. 44), is misleading. All
consonants are pronounced more energetically in French than in
As French "r's" differ from English "r" in that they are always
distinctly pronounced" (p. 46), a Scotch "r" or any other variety
of trilled English "r" should be satisfactory in French; but this is
clearly not the case.
408 THE MODERN LANGUAGE JOURNAL
The author has omitted all discussion of consonant groups,
of division of syllables, of linking, of stress, of intonation.
James L. Barker
University of Utah
LE FRANC AIS ET SA PATRIE, By L. Raymond Talbot.
Benj. H. Sanborn and Co., 1920.
Ever since this book made its appearance, nearly ten years
ago, we have felt that it needed a thorough overhauling before it
could be used as a "French" reader. We were, therefore, much
interested when we read in a Newsletter sent out by the pub-
lishers that "the very latest edition" was available. We sent
a cheque for $1 .32 and received a copy which we read with eager
curiosity. Our curiosity soon became amazement, and amaze-
ment soon changed to something else and made us say a few things
in French and a lot more in English which cannot be printed out
of respect for the ladies.
The "very latest edition" starts off with a map of the France of
ten years ago, with Alsace-Lorraine a part of Germany, and page
30, line 13, states that Strasbourg est une ville allemande. This, we
thought, may stand d la rigueur; the author visited France ten
years ago, conditions have changed since that time, he probably
explains that in another part. We turned to a comparison of
"the very latest edition" with the .fourth, dated 1913. We found
the same number of pages, and the same pages beginning with the
same words. We also found the same misprints. In both editions,
on page 18, line 14 has eglise without an accent; page 16, 1. 22,
has Champs Mlysies without a hyphen; page 59, 1. 10, spells Sldan
for Sedan; both editions end page 50 with a recut that lacks a
cedilla; both editions, on p. 139, 1. 21, and in the vocabulary, give
passioniment instead of passionniment; both the fourth and "the
very latest edition," p. 157, 1. 7, have hdchis with a circumflex
that should not be there; in both editions the vocabulary, p. 260,
lists the singular that which does not exist; in both editions, the
same page 260 spells empacqueter with a superfluous c; in both
editions page 274 lists mourrir for mourir. This seemed so strange
that we thought for a moment that some office boy had made a
mistake and sent us the old fourth edition when we had insisted
on having for our money a copy of "the very latest." Alas! Even
this comfort was to be denied us. For we finally discovered that
what we had received really was the "very latest edition." After
the preface, half a dozen lines branding the fourth as such have
been omitted from "the very latest," and on the title page the date
1920 leaves no doubt about this being a new "edition." The old
plates apparently grind out the new copies. The foreman of the